Blogs by Dean J Forchette
The Chimera Trilogy - Beyond the Usual Vampire Mythos / Mythology
4/12/2008 4:22:20 PM
Cataloging "The Chimera Virus", "BloodWarriors" and "MindAngels" (The Chimera Trilogy) into an appropriate SF subcategory.
Recently I have been puzzling over the problem of categorizing my new novel “The Chimera Virus” and the associated sequels, “Symbionts” and “MindAngels”. Clearly, “The Chimera Virus” is science fiction, but like other recent ventures into new sub-cultural aspects of the genre, this is not quite accurate and that label, too broad and inadequate. Certainly, it is a crossover work containing aspects of SF and horror, yet this is mere description and not classification.
Some contemporary novels and films fitted uncomfortably under the SF and Horror umbrellas, exemplified by such works as Tron, The Cell, Lawnmower Man, Johnny Mnemonic, and The Matrix, have found their nitch, it fact, they have created it. Recently dedicated fans have christened these “Cyber-thrillers”.
But where do we place stories such as “Robocop”, “Blade”, “Underworld” and “Terminator”? What umbrella shelters all the superheroes struggling to find their place now that they have found a place in the hearts of readers and viewers around the world? How do I christen “The Chimera Virus”? The term “Alt-Earth” seems never to have enjoyed favor by SF fans, never fully embraced, being still far too broad, spanning far to great a period of time and was never easily understood by casual readers and film fans.
I include such books and films into the “The Techno-mythos”, a label generally applied to the gaming world. These stories are clearly SF, containing copious use of cutting-edge technology or gadgets on the horizon of human experience, and they generally feature characters with attributes drawn from mythological figures—heroic characters whose larger than life escapades combine the best of man and his adventures built into new or rekindled mythologies. It doesn’t matter whether it is Hercules reborn as Superman, the Golem re-imagined as a crime fighting cyborg or tribes of noble Vampires and Werewolves depicted as a disgruntled serfdom time-warped into the twenty-first century.
Books and films featuring our intrepid hero James Bond lead the way; certainly these exploits must be considered science fiction, yet they seem to teeter on the edge of this newly burgeoning sub-genre, cracking the door of The Techno-mythos just enough to light a path that might have been overlooked. That would put the film “Van Helsing” nearly in the same place, just inside, perhaps lingering at the threshold of the room where the other Techno-mythos stories are being archived. While “Van Helsing” is a period piece, it is so only by default—simply place our hero in the same situation, through some contrivance have him lose his contemporary guns (if he were to have any) and all the gadgets at hand seem perfectly in sinc with modern man, and the odd, locally-colored names, and figures, maintain their exotic charms, as well. Purely science fiction, the works of Jules Verne clearly forecast the birth of The Techno-mythos with such stories as “Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea” and “The Time Machine” as do the swashbuckling adventures penned by the great Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Barsoom series, Pellucidar, tales of Venus and the Moon. But the true Techno-mythos is a relatively recent phenomenon; the stories previously mentioned are roots of this enticing new crop.
The re-tooling of familiar SF and horror stories into the Techno-mythos is here to stay. It has found a permanent home in video games and now in novels, film, in graphic novels and anime. And in this reshaping we are realizing a new and often surprising vision of our familiar heroes and villains, often capturing a glimpse of a rare breed of champion, reflecting attitudes and ideas perhaps as peculiar as SF and horrific as gothic terror, but appealing to the sensibilities of the new reader and the new viewer, discriminating fans that demand a nomenclature that suit their twenty-first century taste.
I am proud to usher “The Chimera Virus” into the halls of the Techno-mythos. Indeed, I am pleased to ascribe this relatively new subcategory of science fiction to The Chimera Trilogy.
Dean J. Forchette
Friday, August 28, 2009
More Blogs by Dean J Forchette
The Chimera Trilogy - Beyond the Usual Vampire Mythos / Mythology - Saturday, April 12, 2008